In November 2011 the Triangle Network organised a conference titled Networked: Dialogue and Exchange in the Global Art Ecology. The conference brought together different views on network and collaborative practices, which were explored through case studies and presentations from artists, curators, researchers and policy makers amongst others.
Over the two days, leading art professionals debated the role of networks in supporting artists’ development, facilitating the global dissemination of contemporary art practices and discussing the role of networks in the support of artists, art projects and grass-roots organisations.
The Triangle Network blog was used to provide an online platform for discussion and debate around the questions and issues that formed the basis of the Networked conference, and allowed a dialogue to take place between speakers, Triangle Partners, artists and the public. The activity on the blog and forums also played a key role in shaping some of the panel discussions and workshops at the conference, so the event could address the most urgent to artists and cultural organisers at this time.
After the conference, the blog continues to function as an open platform for debates over themes, issues, strategies and ambitions around networks and their need, role and function in the future. Additionally, it is another kind of space for informally hosting materials related to Triangle Network activities, such as research, articles and other materials related to Triangle workshops and residencies, information on the Knowledge and Skills Sharing programme, and opportunites available to artists and cultural organisers.
Memorandum of Understanding
The conference was a unique opportunity to take stock of Triangle Network’s achievements over the last 30 years, in the company of a broad group of speakers, partners and friends from all over the world. The event has renewed our enthusiasm for the future of Triangle through new connections and ideas. In order to capture this particular moment Triangle have put together a Memorandum of Understanding’ articulating the mission and vision of the Triangle Network.
The document also sets out the main roles and responsibilities of the various constituents, acknowledging that while each partner is independently run and locally focused, there is a strong need for synergy and mutual support. This document can be read as a checklist that helps current partners to reflect on why and how the Network is useful for them. It also helps potential new partners to better understand what Triangle can offer them, and what they can contribute to it.
The document is focused on the Triangle Network. It is informal and allows for flexibility to account for the different set ups and contexts in which partners and artists operate. However, Triangle would like to encourage comments and discussions from our partners and others with interests in Network activities, hoping that people’s contributions can continue to inform the development of Triangle and similar practices in the future.
Triangle Network – Partners’ Mutual Agreement
Vision and Mission
Triangle is an international network of artists and arts organisations that promotes exchange of ideas and innovation within the contemporary visual arts. Through artist-led workshops, residencies, exhibitions and other public events, the network generates peer-to-peer learning, professional development for artists and the dissemination of emerging international art practices.
Established in 1982, Triangle Network responds to the need of artists and arts organisations to communicate with one another in order to share ideas, skills and experiences. These links enable partners to play a unique role in connecting local and international art scenes, challenging insularity, creating further opportunities for artists and placing themselves at the forefront of the debates on international arts practice.
This is achieved through the following aims:
- Facilitating experimentation and innovation in contemporary arts practice by stimulating dialogue between artists and across cultures.
- Broadening discussions on international visual art through public engagement.
- Ensuring the networks’ long-term sustainability through greater visibility, stronger partner collaborations and mutual support.
Network Principles and Partners’ roles:
All Triangle Partners are independent groups or organisations, with their own unique identity, programmes, management and funding sources. Being part of the Network contributes to their ambition to develop international and innovative projects for artists and the public. The Network also encourages the sharing of resources and ideas with other like-minded organisations.
Partners are expected to regularly self-evaluate their relationship to the Network (they may decide to do so in discussion with other partners and/or the London office), deciding if their mission and vision continue to be in line with those of Triangle. Also, they should consider their commitment to the Network, i.e. deciding whether they are able to maintain the necessary level of contribution, required to carry out their roles and responsibilities (please see below the section Triangle Network – Partners)
Triangle Network – London office
Partners are supported by the main Network hub, based in London. This office is responsible for ensuring that the Network delivers on its mission and vision through working with partners and by offering advice and support in developing relevant projects and links. The London office is also responsible for the development of the Network through the involvement of new partners and locations, as well as liaising with existing partners in negotiating their role within and need for the Network.
The London office aims to fundraise for and often manages the Triangle’s umbrella activities such Network-wide residency and training programmes. The hub also supports the development (joint-project management, co-fundraising etc) of new partnerships and projects such as new workshops.
The London office, a registered Charity, is able to receive and disburse grants to partners. As such, it is legally and contractually responsible to funders for administration, coordination and reporting on relevant projects and activities. As such, Triangle does not fund partners to develop their organisations but can only make strategic contributions to their programmes to help build resilience and sustainability for the network overall and for the various partners.
The London office is responsible for maintaining a cohesive and up-to-date image of the Network and to advocate for Triangle amongst art professionals and other peers, policy makers and funders as well as the general public.
Partners work actively with the London office to inform on and participate with the development of the Network through:
Advancing the vision and mission of the Network
- As members of a network, Triangle partners develop independent projects whose nature reflects the vision and mission of Triangle by working closely with artists and supporting emerging talent through innovative projects.
- Triangle partners are self-managed, with their own programme of activities aimed at local artists and audiences. The connections with Triangle helps them to gain additional international profile and benefit from umbrella-level funding for some of their projects, thereby extending partners’ ambitions and reach.
- Triangle partners are generally artist-run collectives or organisations, operating outside the commercial or institutional spheres, with a focus on supporting and disseminating the work of emerging artists.
- Partners have a strong local presence through their activities however they aim to position themselves in the international art scene through international projects (workshops, residencies, exhibitions etc.) and thorough collaborations with other Triangle partners as well as external peers.
- Partners aim to develop a dialogue with each other to create a system of mutual support and advice. Where possible the Network encourages partners to link with peers in their own region through joint activities and programmes. This is particularly effective in regions where contacts are limited.
Contributing to advocacy and fundraising
- Partners are expected to act as ambassadors for Triangle, supporting its mission and vision through advocacy with peers, public and funders. This includes representing the Network during relevant talks and other public events, prominently displaying the Triangle Logo with a link to information on Triangle (i.e. linking the logo to the Triangle website) on their own websites and all other relevant publicity material.
- Partners’ activities are generally featured on the Triangle Network website. The London office expects partners to communicate regularly and update site’s news section and blog so that they are kept up-to-date and show the breadth, diversity, interests and direction of the Network.
- Partners must keep their websites up to date and notify the London office if their website changes or is permanently down so that alternatives possibilities can be sought.
- As a Network, Triangle relies on its partners to determine collective priorities and ambitions for future developments. Regular communication with each other and with the Triangle office in London ensures that these are addressed and that a strategy for achieving them is put in place.
- Partners receiving funding through the London office are required to comply with administration and reporting requirements enabling the office in London to fulfil its contractual agreements with funders.
- Triangle partners are responsible for fundraising for their own activities however, on occasions, they join forces with each other and with the London office to access additional funding sources or to create new collaborative projects. This is particularly important when thinking about developing regional projects or other umbrella-level activities.
Supporting innovation and excellence in the visual arts
- Artists are at the core of the Triangle Network. Partners’ activities focus mainly on the process of art making and encourage experimentation through professional development activities such as residencies and workshops. Partners also disseminate emerging practices through exhibitions, public events and community engagement.
- Historically, workshops, residencies and exhibitions have been at the core of Triangle’s activities. However, the Network and its partners are also developing a diverse and dynamic programme of activities that includes coordinators’ and curators’ training, artists’ talks, conferences, panels, film screenings, performance events etc… These challenge and broaden the discussions on international visual art by instigating dialogue between artists and other art professionals as well as with experts in different fields, academics, curators, writers, researchers and the general public.
- The Network enables partners to play a unique role in connecting local and international art scenes, challenging insularity, creating further opportunities for artists, conducting research in regions under-represented by the international art scene and placing themselves at the forefront of the debates on international arts practice.